Wednesday, 28 February 2007

It's been nice knowing you

I left work at the same time as Kevin today. The conversation went something like this:

Kevin: "How's it going?"
Me: " Oh, I'm trying to get myself fired."
Kevin: "How's that then?"

And then we discussed the different methods I could try. That's one of the great things about Kevin. It's possible to have a conversation with him that sounds perfectly normal when actually the subject matter isn't. So for reference here are the things we discussed.

1. Breaching the Company's Confidentiality Directive. This is work that is in progress. I have another blog which talks about the project I'm working on. Now this strategy probably won't work because I don't mention the company or anything that I think is confidential in this other blog but I have made efforts to ensure people know of it's existence.

2. Fiddling expenses. This is normally a sure fired (no pun intended) way to get the sack. Now there are problems with this approach. The first is that I don't have the time for this piffling admin task and the second is that my boss is probably astute enough to pick it up before it became a problem.

3. Viewing porn on the company PC. I've probably already done this, inadvertently. I remember typing as a typo when wanting and the company firewall advised me I was trying to access an inappropriate site that might contain porn. I've hit that message a number of times at work. Of course when I use the laptop at home, without being hooked into the corporate network, the firewall doesn't protect me so I've probably seen things I shouldn't. However given that most porn is aimed at men I could probably argue my actions were unintended. I could distribute inappropriate material via e-mail but I'd rather be fired for incompetance which brings me to number 4.

4. Incompetance. Now this is a really difficult one. I've known loads of managers that couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery, who've made things worse rather than better, left a trail of devastation in their wake and none have been fired for it. In fact many seem to get promoted. This would be an unlikely route to succeed but one could certainly have fun trying.

5. Sexual harrassment. This is all very well in theory but this could backfire if my intended victim actually enjoyed the harrassment. So a bit risky.

After discussing these alternatives and determining that none were ideal, Kevin suggested crashing my car into a car park full of manager's cars and claiming I had done this on purpose.
On reflection however we thought that the opportunity for spare parts and replacement cars would be seen as a profit opportunity and therefore perhaps an ingenious attempt by me to aid the company profits.

I don't want to give you the idea that I'm desperate for an escape route, but any other ideas and suggestions are welcome.

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Car wash

I'm picking up my new car on Monday. Well to be more exact it's a bus.

I know I've only got two children, and I know I don't need a bus, and it's bad for the environment, and it takes up a lot of space in car parks, and, and, and, and.....

But it's a company car, and I couldn't order what I wanted, and this is a diesel so it's not too bad for CO2 emissions (OK the carcinogenic particulate emissions aren't great but that's diesel for you), and it gives me a nice high driving position, and when I'm travelling with in-laws it means we don't have to take two cars, and when I go camping I can fit all the gear in the back easily, and, and, and....

But it means I have to say goodbye to the current car, which is a car, and not a bus. And that means getting wet and dirty because it means getting the car clean and dry and somehow what's on the car seems to transfer off onto me.

I do like a clean car, inside and out, but I am inherently lazy which is why I only generally clean it just before I return it, so that's every nine months ish. One of the perks of working in the auto industry - driving "fresh" product.

Now when I say I cleaned the car, I mean I cleaned the car. I didn't take it to a valet company or car wash, although the kids might have helped a tiny bit (actually hindered might be a better word).

Unconventional auto cleaning products used today: baby wipes and T-cut.

Baby wipes are great for cleaning car uphostery and also the plastic trim that gets covered in mud.

T-cut was used, not really for cleaning, more for eradicating some nice surface scratches that someone, maybe me, was responsible for, over the rear offside wheel arch.

If the vehicle inspectors find the scratch it'll cost me money. If they don't, it won't. I'm hoping for a rainy day so they won't want to spend ages examining the paintwork.

The wheels on the bus

The wheel on the bus go round and round.

OK, the bus is huge, massive and, as Ethan says, 'normous. And I have a few issues. All of this means the T Cut trick worked.

Last car had auto headlamps which means I didn't have to remember to turn them on, or off. The bus doesn't. That means that, guaranteed, I will be driving in the rain or dark without lights on. And also, I'll probably end up with a flat battery because the one time I remember to turn my lights on, I'll forget to turn them off. Vish has been taking the piss telling me that at least it has a knob thingy to operate the lights but he doesn't understand!!!

The clock is set at the wrong time and I'm going to have to resort to the handbook to figure out how to change it. I've pressed every button.

I already resorted to the handbook for the phone thingy. Nothing. In the main handbook it says see audio handbook. I looked in the audio handbook. Nothing. Luckily the boss had photocopied sheet of instructions. I didn't ask where it came from.

And I've got voice control. What a laugh. I daren't even attempt that while I'm driving. I tried voice control on one of Dave's cars as amusement for the kids. I used to say "radio tune one oh five point eight" and it used to repeat "radio tune ninety two point three" or something silly and then it would try to argue with me. Ok maybe I would try and argue with it. Anyway whenever it said "sorry I didn't recognise that command" the kids used to laugh at it's supersillious voice. Or maybe they were laughing at me.

And while I'm whinging, the pedal efforts are very different from the Mondeo so I'm over revving and stalling everywhere.

Oh, and there's no tonneau cover. Either that or I haven't found it yet.

But it's got poke. For a bus it moves like brown stuff off a shovel.

It's got storage compartments everywhere. And the kids love the cupholders. They haven't used them yet, but they like the concept.

Monday, 26 February 2007

Get out of bed. It's raining.

Just over a week ago I found myself stood at the bottom of a ladder with my husband at the top of it. It was a very long ladder because our house is quite tall and Dave was fiddling with the guttering.

Now fiddling is perhaps a little cruel. The guttering was dribbling in a significant fashiononto a wall which lacked a capping stone thingy. Anyway the bricks were absorbing the water which was then being sucked up by the outside wall of the house. The sucked in water was then buggering up the plaster on the inside of the house. This was then showing itself with a sort of dampish yukkiness on the painted lining paper in our dining room.

Our house is a money pit. This is just one example of numerous ways that our bank balances are being denuded by our home.

So that's why my hubby was up a ladder. I never really know why people up ladders want someone situated at the base because I wasn't doing anything except looking at Dave's bum. I mean it's a nice bum but it was a bit chilly outside and I'd rather have been indoors.
Where was I? Sorry - distracted by a bottom.

Oh, Dave was up a ladder and he was fixing the dribbling guttering. It was a bit of an unorthadox fix using bathroom sealant (used for all sorts of things outside the bathroom).
Pleased with the fact he hadn't fallen off the ladder and he'd fixed the gutter he now wanted to conduct a test of the fix. So we wanted it to rain so we could check it was no longer dribbling.

That's why, in the middle of the night, lying in bed, listening to the rain, with Dave asleep next to me, I wanted to wake him up. I wanted to tell him there was an opportunity to get out in the rain and check his handiwork. I didn't wake him up, but I very nearly did.

Sunday, 25 February 2007

Young and/or single vs married

I found this on a blog written by a gay guy (he wrote about his boyfriends and his picture showed him in leather shorts and a tie) and he was 21 years old.

I considered my reaction and then thought about how I would feel with the clock rewound 20 years. My reaction now is just a tad different. I wonder what your reaction is to this.

Seventeen Signs You Really Like Someone

SEVENTEEN:You look at their profile constantly.

SIXTEEN:When you're on the phone with them late at night and they hang up, you still miss them even when it was just two minutes ago.

FIFTEEN:You read their texts and IMs over and over again.

FOURTEEN:You walk really slow when you're with them.

THIRTEEN:You feel shy whenever they're around.

ELEVEN:When you think about them, your heart beats faster and slower at the same time.

TEN:You smile when you hear their voice.

NINE:When you look at them, you can't see the other people around you, you just see him/her.

EIGHT:You start listening to slow songs while thinking about them.

SEVEN:They're all you think about.

SIX:You get high just from their scent.

FIVE:You realize you're always smiling when you're looking at them.

FOUR:You would do anything for them, just to see them.

THREE:While reading this, there was one person on your mind this whole time.

TWO:You were so busy thinking about that person, you didn't notice number twelve was missing

ONE:You just scrolled up to check and are now silently laughing at yourself.

Saturday, 24 February 2007


Hmm, Sainbury had lots of marshmallows in stock today. I bought several packs to prepare for the next drought.

Rugby snack

This recommendation is really for Barbara, although the rest of you can benefit from trying this. Oh, and it doesn't have to be a rugby snack but that happens to be what I was doing when I discovered it. Watching the game, obviously, not playing it.

You know I bought marshmallows today. Well I've had a chocolate fondue pot in the cupboard and I've been desperate for an excuse to open it. Well the rugger was on and Sainsury had marshmallows in stock. That was good enough reason for me.

The choc fondue pot is made by Vanilla: and they're too easy to use. Just whack the pot in the microwave and stir.

Well, marshmallows dunked, so that no marshmallow is visible, in the Belgian Dark Chocolate Fondue is the yummiest yummy thing I've eaten in a while. And they worked perfectly to distract me from Scotland's nightmare start to the game today.

Friday, 23 February 2007

I got it wrong again

There are times when someone isn't interested in honesty.

"Do you like my new haircut?"

"Do you think I was right to quit my well paid and satisfying job to do a meaningless, boring and low paid job that I hate?"

"Do you think I was right to leave my handsome, kind, loving husband and devoted father of my children to have a fling with the skanky milkman whose teeth click and who smells of wee?"

"Do you think I was right to photocopy every part of my bare body and distribute the results in the internal mail?"

These are obvious scenarios where the questioner just wants empathy. They just want to feel good. If they were feeling positive about any of these things then they wouldn't be asking the question. So they're asking because they want reassurance that they haven't just ruined their life (particularly if they have a really crap haircut).

Do I need to point out that only one of the above might be something I've experienced?
Anyway, there other questions where what the enquirer wants is less obvious, and it can be tricky to know whether it's truth they want, or whether they want to hear fantasy. Because if you give them fantasy and they think it's truth then that's cruel. If you give them fantasy and that's what they wanted, then everyone is happy.

And, as I discovered today, if you tell someone the truth, when they wanted to hear fantasy, then it gets nasty. I got it wrong again.

Thursday, 22 February 2007


So who saw the Conspiracy programme on BBC on Sunday night?

And who has seen the Loose Change film (search Google video) all the way through?

And who thought the BBC did a really poor job of addressing all of the issues?

I still don't trust Bush and his cronies and I'm still not convinced.

But then I always was a bit of an X-files fan....and you can't beat a good conspiracy theory.


I found these on the Graham Norton Show webiste:

They are comments or conversations that have been overheard.

Heard from a customer: "I want a refund or a replacement, 'cos this banana isn't as pleasing as my friend said it'd be"

Bloke on the phone, walking down High Street Kensington: "Well, I'd love to come, but unfortunately I'm in Rome at the moment."

In Oxford Street a respectable-looking, middle-aged man takes solace from the crowds against a shopfront in order to take a call on his mobile phone: "Yes, yes. I've bought you a really good present. Yeah, you'll love it, it's great, it's definitely worth anal this time.

Overheard on a flight, and my personal favourite:
Teen girl 1: "He broke up with me on Facebook!"
Teen girl 2: "Like, on your wall?"
Teen girl 1: "No, he just changed his status back to 'Single'!"

One teenage girl to her friends "and I said to her, you can't take any pills to change that f***ing face."

On a bus in London one day - it was very crowded, standing beside two men:
Gary: "I used to date guys, but I've met this really nice girl."
Guy friend: "Come on, you really don't think you can see this going anywhere!"
Gary: "I don't know, she's different, I've never felt this way before"
Guy friend: "You do know she's a lesbian?"
Gary: "Sure, but I fancy her, so she could fancy me"
Guy friend: "I think I'll get off at the next stop"

Two women chatting on a Lewisham bus: "Ooh have you seen his flat? It's lovely, it's had all that Sinn Fein..."

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Good idea, or get back to work?

I had an e-mail interaction today where it was very clear that I didn't have a clue what I was talking about. And it set me off on a train of thought. I don't think I'm the only one who doesn't have a clue about loads of things they are asked about at work. (Or maybe I am - ooops, don't tell anyone.)

I recently set up a blog for work to keep anyone who's interested (nobody, judging by the glazed looks people wore at the team mtg) up to date with progress on a project. And I thought I could set up another one. The idea for this new blog would be to use it as a sort of confessional.

Now, I'm not a Catholic and I don't envisage it being used to share sins, although actually that could make it really interesting to read. This new blog would be titled "Things I don't know" where people can share the stuff they're asked about where they have no clue.

OK, now I've had the sin confessional thought I think the blog should be used for sins too. This way people would want to read it. So whilst they're reading about people's sins and also what people don't know they can comment on the blog to forgive the sins and offer advice on the work stuff.

Good idea or should I just get back to work?

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

I don't, but if I did....

I don't keep a food diary. But if I did, then today's would look like this:

06:50 Orange juice, big bowl of organic low fat yoghurt with lots of organic honey and a mug of tea (milk, no sugar)

How do they make sure organic honey is organic? Do they have big nets that stop the bees landing onto non organic flowers?

08:20 Large filter coffee (milk, no sugar) from the Pitstop (snack bar at work)

09:00 Gu Chocolate brownie - thanks Vish, very yummy and an excellent way to start the work day

12:30 Ham and cheese ploughmans in a granary baguette and a large takeaway tomato and mushroom soup from the Pitstop

15:00 Jam doughnut (one of ten I nipped out to buy at lunchtime)

16:00 Another jam doughnut and a mug of tea (milk, no sugar)

17:30 Two pancakes, homemade, with lemon juice and organic raw cane sugar and another with organic Braeburn apples cooked in cinnamon and topped with a large dollop of Green and Blacks chocolate spread

20:00 A litre of water

21:00 Another lemon and sugar pancake

21:15 An extra thick and creamy Jersey milk yoghurt made with a compote of Scottish raspberries, and a large mug of Twinings apple and ginger fruit tea

Which bits made your mouth water?

Or did you just think "this girl needs the Food Doctor"? Oooh anything but that nasty woman prodding my poo - yuk!

Monday, 19 February 2007

Entertaining children 1.01

Sorry about the title - terribly American.

Hannah and I went to the Science Museum today. It's er hum a while since I last went. I was probably about ten years old on my last visit.

About a year ago we went to the Natural History Museum and it looked tired. There were some exhibits that were clearly new, but the overall feel was dusty.

By contrast, I was amazed at how fresh and modern the Science Museum looked. Even the old exhibits were relevant for today and didn't look like they'd been assembled during rationing.

The basement was the most interactive area. There were loads of things for little hands to play with in the guise of discovering more about science. Things like making a bridge in unsupported arch form from foam bricks and then testing it with your own weight. It even coped with my weight.

The Flight area was, as you might expect, full of planes, which is always impressive when one considers they are suspended from the ceiling with bits of string (or maybe wire).

The area showing household appliances through the ages disturbed me because I recognised too many from my childhood.

Hannah absolutely loved her day, due in part to an excellent museum but there was another factor. It's amazing how exciting trains and tubes can be for someone that travels everywhere on foot or in a car.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

It's happened

During my childhood Sunday meant Sunday roast.

For my children Sunday just means the day after Saturday and the day before Monday.

I do cook, and so does Dave, after a fashion, but we rarely bother with a roast dinner. It just seems like hard work.

The other thing I remember about Sunday was my mum's afternoon nap. I used to think it was strange that she'd disappear for an hour or so to sleep.

Well I've just cooked, and we've just eaten, a roast and pudding. Very nice it was too.

And I could really do with 40 winks. It has happened. I have become my mother.

Saturday, 17 February 2007

Not all bad, just mostly

I did the weekly supermarket shop this morning.

I experienced a few minor irritations which would be acceptable, were it not for the fact that there are always minor irritations.

Firstly, in the fruit and veg section, I noticed bags of organic Braeburn apples. The notice near the fruit stated "7 apples for the price of 5." I noticed that all of the pre-packed bags contained just five apples. I pointed this out to a member of staff and they said "Uh, guess that's finished" and they removed the notice. There was no apology for the misleading information on display and there was no gratitude for the observation.

For the eighth week I have checked the confectionary aisle for marshmallows (yummy on top of hot chocolate - or even just eaten on their own. Plus I have a pot of chocolate that needs melting for marshmallows, excuse me I'm dribbling). Once again, no marshmallows. I find a member of staff and ask if it would be possible for someone to order some marshmallows, because this is the eighth week I've looked, and the eighth week I've failed to find any. The response is "If you'd like to go to the Customer Service desk..." I walk away shaking my head. I don't feel I should be doing anything to help Sainsburys sort out their stock control? Why should I go and repeat my request to the Customer Service desk which will mean queueing and increasing the time it's taking me to do the shopping? Why should I be further inconvenienced? I've already been inconvenienced over the last eight weeks. Why can't the member of staff I approached, own the problem and sort it out?

Walking down one of the household goods aisles I fail to ignore a huge pallet of goods waiting to be emptied onto shelves. It's unattended in the middle of the aisle. Coming towards me are three Sainsburys employees. I hear one say to the others "That's a really sensible place to leave that." Her voice is laden with sarcasm. They walk straight past. I hear a voice in my head screaming "Then move it! You work for the company. Take some pride and do something." Fortunately, for all concerned, the voice is only in my head.

The other irritations are mainly around poor stocking, particularly two items.

Yesterday I showed Sandra how to make what we call Rockland or Brentwood Mess. It's Eton mess but a fruit mixture replaces either strawberries or raspberries. She told me off on the basis that it tastes delicious and is too easy to make thus making it an easy route to too many calories.

When Sandra left here yesterday she told me she was taking Daniel swimming. I think she lied and actually went to Sainsburys and cleared them out of meringue nests and frozen summer fruit.

But when I resolved to get back into the habit of ordering from Tesco or Ocado online, I am impressed by the checkout assistant. When she's packing my bag she puts similar things together to aid the unpacking process. She's chatty and she's helpful. When she thinks I may have more than one trolley load she offers a second trolley and help getting everything out to the car. She does everything she should including the asking about schools vouchers, reward points and a car park refund.

However there is the small matter of the cost, which is about twice what it is when Dave does the shopping. Maybe he should do the shopping from now on.

So it wasn't all bad, just mostly.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Diet coke ad

Here's a link, for those who haven't seen it.

Having seen the comments I think I'm wrong. I think it's targetted at men. The comments just seem to be from men commenting that the girls are hot.

Bovines in danger

There's nothing like stealing a good idea. I'd like to say this is nothing like stealing a good idea but I'd be lying.

This is beyond creative and, in my opinion, rather marvellous. Thanks to Helen, and her rather superb blog:

Check out the madness that is

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Good day, bad memory

It had to be done. Well actually it didn't really.I have been meaning to get to IKEA for a few weeks now. Toy storage is out of control again. We've thrifted and it's still a problem. It isn't that the volume of toys has really grown, it's more that we need something to cope with the variety of toys as well as the sheer volume.

Anyway we found something to tide us over until things need another rework.I sold the idea of a trip to hell (my little nickname for IKEA) to the kids. I wish I could remember how I did it or even why I did it.

It's a hideous place to go at the weekend, I'm normally too busy on my non work days, I really can't face going in the evening and chances of Dave going are very, very low.So in lieu of the above unattractive opportunities, I end up going in half term. What was I thinking? The M25 queues confirmed I was out of my mind.

It wasn't too bad. Kiddiwinks were quite well behaved. I'm sure they really annoyed a lot of people in the restaurant (that's a misnomer) queue. They found queueing really difficult. I wasn't too critical because I hate queuing too. I think I just made it look like they were being disciplined and made them apologise when they bumped into people.

They were so well behaved over lunch that a lady at the next table asked if I was a teacher. But this brought back a memory.

When Ethan was a baby I took a trip to IKEA. I can't remember why I went but it was similar circumstances, trying to avoid a weekend or evening trip. I think I wanted bedroom furniture for Hannah.

Ethan cried the whole way round the store. I was trying to carry things, push a trolley and carry Ethan, because whenever I put him down, he yelled. He just yelled a little less when I held him.

It's not easy to do IKEA in a hurry, and even less so when forced to take breaks to feed and change a baby. I think I was determined to go through with the trip and buy what I needed. I wanted everything to be as normal as possible, even stopping half way round for a coffee (with a screaming baby).

My stress levels were very high and I was close to tears. After going through the checkout with him still yelling I just burst into tears. I had had enough. I was mentally spent and I couldn't bear the sound of the crying anymore.

A very kind lady helped me to my car and I went back home. I just remember feeling completely useless, and so grateful to this stranger for giving me a little piece of emotional and physical support.

It was very different today. No tears, and no thoughts of tears.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

I'm an expert, me.

I am an expert in the field of advertising. And I would guess you are too. Most consumers are.

Diet Coke ad - lift scene. Discuss.

This ad clearly targets women. But they have got it sooooooo wrong.

Women, and I know this is a generality but it is also a truth universally acknowledged, women, are clever and manipulative creatures.

A brief recap of the ad so you know what I'm talking about.

Three office girls get into a lift with cans of Diet Coke. They press the alarm bell and an allegedly good looking lift engineer drops, James Bond style, through the top of the lift. Girls then leave the lift with filthy smirks on their collective faces. The engineer is left looking a little bemused.

Now I may not have captured this exactly. Allegedly good looking man may be considered good looking by the exact target audience but he does nothing for me. Girls may not have filthy smirks but that's how I interpret their expressions. Lift engineer may not be bemused but that's my deduction.

Anyway the implication is that the girls do this so they can gawp at the fit body of 'their rescuer'. And now to my damning criticism of this creative execution.

Women do not collaborate when it comes to the opposite sex! It's tough being a single girl. If a woman has a man in her sights then, in the competitive dating environment, she will create opportunities to be alone with her target. She will not invite her friends, especially when she knows they also find him attractive. Women understand the phrase 'eliminate the competition'.

So, in summary, Diet Coke have not understood their target. In fact the commercial looks to pander more to male fantasy than to female fantasy.

They have got it very, very wrong.Unless of course you disagree. In which case I would like your discussion paper on my desk by close of play on Friday.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Please sir...

I needed to be at the airport today for 6:20am.

This means I needed to set an early alarm.This means I had to have a completely disrupted and useless nights sleep.

Why did my body have to self wake every half hour just to check I hadn't overslept? My alarm clock is reliable and I've never missed a flight in my life (although the honeymoon was a close run thing).

What is it about needing to wake up before the normal alarm time that sends bodies into an irritating, debilitating feedback loop?

I've checked and I'm not the only sufferer. Other people have the same body issue.

It doesn't matter whether it's a flight, deciding that it's essential to bake a cake at 5:00am, being picked up by someone to get to an early meeting or anything really that requires an extra early start - the body doesn't trust two things: the alarm clock and it's own ability to hear and respond to the wake up call.

This is why business travel is horrible. After a long day I am more shattered than I should be. I should just be exhausted and in need of an early night but instead I'm completely devoid of energy and need a week off to recover. Slight exaggeration, but do you think the boss will believe me?

Monday, 12 February 2007

Upping the ante

I started it. I invited the girls over for lunch on a Friday.

The girls are the mums of Ethan's friends and we all take our little darlings swimming on Friday morning. So now you know why my Friday afternoon hair is so comical - swimming pool hair.

Clearly if you're inviting mums for lunch you also have to feed the children. So I did.

Lunch for the children was something easy, quick and simple. Pasta with meatballs in a tomato sauce. The pasta just needed cooking. The meatballs and the tomato sauce just needed heating up. Lunch for the grown ups was equally simple. Fresh soup that just needed heating in a pan and bread that just needed heating in the oven.

It was great to catch up with the girls and we thought it would be a good idea to do the same thing every week, taking it in turns to play host.

Louise was next and she also did soup but her bread was posher than mine.

Janet coped with more adults and children and still delivered a great lunch.

And then we went to Mel's. And this was the step change that means Friday lunches will never be the same.

Firstly Mel laid the table with placemats. And then there was the food. We had a freshly prepared salad including avacodo (now that's posh). She'd made a quiche and cooked new potatoes served with butter and parsley garnish (I have never ever made a quiche). And to top it all we had cheesecake and cream (cream served in a jug no less).

This isn't just lunch.....this is lunch at Mel's.

It's official. Mel has upped the ante.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

Audience participation

In response to Barbara's suggestion to write ten things that are either odd or interesting about myself, I've been doing some thinking.

The result is a list covering a variety of things but I'm not sure about posting them.

The main reason, is that whilst I may consider them odd, or interesting, you may not.

So I have devised a plan which I hope will work.

Many of you know me, and some of you have known me for a long time. I think you are the best people to judge what it odd or interesting.

So...nominations please. I would like to receive, either by message, e-mail, comment, blog response or whatever medium suits you, your suggestions for inclusion: things that you think are odd, or interesting about me.

I will then include the top 10 in a subsequent blog.

I do love audience participation, don't you?

Friday, 9 February 2007

Girl talk

I'm sure many men wonder about what women talk about when they get together.I was in a pub this evening with three other women and some of the items discussed were:

Smoking in pubs

Pole dancing
Valentine's Day gifts
Rabbit's ears
Guinea Pigs
Fabric softener
Daniel Craig

Now unfortunately I can't provide you with the details on any of these subjects. But that's why you have been blessed with an imagination.

Thursday, 8 February 2007

The Snowman - alternative version

Hannah's version of the Snowman song. Raymond Briggs - I apologise.

I'm flying in the air.
I lost my underwear.
I went to Mothercare
To buy another pair.

Snowy picnic anyone?

This was their idea, not mine. And please don't criticise Hannah's lack of coat or gloves. That's her choice.

Bit chilly

We've had the lightest covering of snow ever and most of the schools in the area are closed.

I started by thinking that this was ridiculous. I barely remember our schools closing regardless of snow fall. Two inches of snow certainly didn't justify closure.

And interestingly I'm sure that Ethan's nursery, which has a financial interest in opening, will be open, despite the fact that they employ more people than the local school and they are located just a few hundred yards away on an ungritted road.

I also remembered when I had a Saturday job, following a heavy snow fall, I walked the three miles to work and arrived on time.

So on the one hand I think we've turned into a bunch of nampy pamby weather and work shy individuals. On the other hand I'm really pleased Hannah can stay at home and play in the snow. She tells me that when it snows on a school day they aren't allowed out because the teachers don't like them tramping snow into the classroom. Killjoys!

Anyway, I'm off out to build a snowman. I might nip into loft and retrieve some ski gear. I know I'll get grumpy if I get cold and wet.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

What men want

Valentine's day is next Wednesday and all I can think is "uh", which is thought with a concurrent drop of the shoulders.

Dave and I aren't like normal couples. We don't have a set way of behaving for anniversaries or days like Valentine's Day.

We would normally exchange cards but anything more is hit or miss. Sometimes we do exchange gifts, sometimes we don't. Sometimes the gift giving is one-sided.

The trouble is I'm now thinking if I do get Dave something, what should I get him? I don't want to be predictable but being creative is likely to take time and energy, two things that are in short supply.

It's a good job Dave only reads my blogs when I'm away on a business trip and haven't bothered to call - bad wife!

Anyway, I googled 'what do blokes want for Valentines day'. I found some very, very funny posts on several forums before concluding that men just want sex.

I'm confused. This doesn't make Valentine's Day any different from any other day.

Tuesday, 6 February 2007


Did the commute today:
Pack everything including kitchen sink into car.

Drive to nursery.
Extract some things and a child.
Take child into nursery (not forgetting to put on daft looking shoe cover and using antibac gel)
Settle child at breakfast table.
Remove stupid blue shoe covers to avoid looking silly for rest of day.
Drive to station.
Walk to ticket office.
Buy ticket, incl parking ticket (total £26.50 - ouch).
Walk quickly to platform, picking up free newspaper en route.
Miss train.
Sit in waiting room.
Get on next train.
Stand up due to lack of free seats.
Text a bit.
Read a bit.
Get annoyed at newsprint on fingers.
Read over people's shoulders.
Mentally critique other people's appearance/attire.
Try to stay standing up when train stops abruptly.
Grab seat when one becomes available.
Do last minute prep for day ahead.
Realise you're at Liverpool St.
Shove everything in laptop bag.
Hunt for ticket.
Find ticket.
Pretend to be executive woman walking briskly along platform.
Walk to tube platform.
Wait for reasonably uncrowded tube train.
Get in tube and find something to hold on to.

And then today, this is where it went a little bit funny. The tube stopped at Bank station and none of the doors in our carriage opened. There are always a lot of people alighting at Bank so I expected a reaction but there was silence. I caught someone's eye and we exchanged an eye roll and a shoulder shrug but nobody said a thing. In fact my eye roll man was the only person who seemed to react.

Then the tube continued as if nothing was awry. Well all of the people who should have left at Bank left at the next station but still nobody said a word.

I thought that was most strange, and it made me smile.

Monday, 5 February 2007


I was talking to a friend who's just changed his life direction.

He's gone from corporate rat race to being happy.

And I've been doing some thinking as a result.

Now before Christmas I had the opportunity to take redundancy, and I didn't. I'm not quite sure why.

As it is I only work part time. This means I'm a part time mum too. Well I'm always a mum but you know what I mean.

The result of this is that I feel I'm not doing either job properly.

The paid job is really a full time job and squishing it into three days a week leaves me feeling like I'm failing. Now I could return to full time work but I don't want to. So I'm left with feelings of failure.

The unpaid job ends up being a rush. Two 'working' days filled with all of the things that other mums fit into five days. This can make these days feel quite stressed when they should be relaxed and fun. Now I could do this job full time but I don't want to. I think Ethan benefits from some time at nursery and I think I benefit from having time away from the children.

What I'm left with is quite a fine balance. Too much stress in one or other job and I might need to re-evaluate my choices.

The problem is that I don't know what to do in lieu of what I'm doing now.
My friend found that once he made the decision to change direction, offers of work came flooding in. He's now doing 4 jobs and he's happy in all of them.
I imagined what would happen if I quit and I couldn't see anyone offering me a job anywhere where I'd be happy.

So I think I'm stuck with my fine balance of stresses, especially as there isn't an offer of redundancy right now.

Sunday, 4 February 2007

Will Smith - he can...

I think I invented a phrase today: "He can butter my toast anyday." (Google does return the same phrase but I was unable to verify an exact context match so I still claim inventor's rights.)

We went to the cinema yesterday and saw The Pursuit of Happyness and we concluded that Will Smith is annoyingly talented. He can act, sing, dance and probably do a multitude of other things well too, including buttering my toast.

We supposed he was a good father, a great friend, etc. aswell. And as Dave and I are coming up with the list of his imagined talents the above phrase just popped sneakily into my head.

Back to the film. Will Smith is brilliant and he plays alongside his son who gave a stunning performance for one so young. The film is inspired by a true story and is an inspiring film, if you're seeking inspiration. I was looking for entertainment, and I got that too.

I also came out of the cinema with a headache. I don't know whether I'm the only person to get this type of headache, but it's a headache that happens when you need to cry but you try not to. All of the bottled up emotion gets stuck behind my forehead and it can't escape anywhere because I don't let it. Hence the pain. I guess I could just cry, but I think if I did I would just be a blubbering mess, and that would spoil the film for everyone else.

Saturday, 3 February 2007

If only Jamie Oliver knew...

On Saturday mornings Hannah goes to a gymnastics class at a local secondary school. On the way in to the hall we pass a vending machine. I was amused to see the following sign on it:

"With effect from September 2006, as a result of new Government Legislation, the sale of bagged and wrapped snacks and confectionery is prohibited within schools at lunchtime. It is also not permitted to sell drinks containing more than 5% sugar or ingredients from a prohibited list durin lunch.

This machine is currently not fully compliant and will therefore no longer be available for use at lunchtime.

Normal service will be available at Break and at other times authorised by your school."

I quite liked the fact that the healthy restrictions weren't seen as normal. I also thought the wording made it sound as though the exception of Break time was a loophole that the Government hadn't considered and that the school was exploiting. How rebellious!

Friday, 2 February 2007

Happy holidays

I think holidays are quite stressful. We have finally booked a holiday but getting there wasn't easy.

For us it wasn't as simple as "where are we going - right lets find a holiday there."

We didn't know what country or countries we wanted to visit. We didn't know what kind of accommodation and we didn't know when we wanted to go. I can see that if we'd walked into a travel agent the poor soul dealing with us would have wished they'd stayed on their tea break.

Anyway we managed to narrow down the field.

We'll be descending on a village in Turkey at the height of the summer. It will be hot and tempers will fray. I can't wait.

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Ah, who cares? I do!

It's open season at the local Leisure Centre.

There are about six disabled parking bays at the local Leisure Centre.
I've noticed that there are often people parked there without displaying the blue disabled badges.

I often tell the reception staff either that there are several cars parked there without badges displayed, or sometimes I walk in, having remembered a registration number, reporting a specific vehicle.

I do this because disabled parking is there for a reason. This particular parking is outside a leisure centre which is where people go to get or stay fit. I don't understand why people park in spaces that aren't meant for them, particularly just because it gets them closer to the entrance. "It's a fitness centre. Park ten feet further away and get a tiny bit more exercise. It's not as though the car park is full!"

By now you've realised this is turning into a rant but actually only part of my wrath is reserved for the muppets who park in the wrong place. My main targets are the staff manning the reception who, when advised, say "I know. There's nuffink we can do about it." They then proceed to tell me how awful it is that the situation is allowed to continue. My blood pressure is usually elevated at this point and I politely ask whether they'd like me to go and key the offending vehicle(s). I jest of course but I think they understand this because the offer is through gritted teeth.

If they have no legal recourse I can understand their legal situation. What I can't understand is the lack of creativity in coming up with an alternative solution for the problem. Actually they probably haven't even tried being creative, so it's probably their inertia I find most riling.

Can't they stick politely worded sticker on the driver's window, adhered with the stickiest glue making it a real pain to remove. The inconsiderate parkers then have the embarrassment of the visual admonishment and the problem of removing the very stuck sticker. I bet this would work really well to prevent re-offending.

In the meantime, park wherever you like. Nobody cares!